Important Words to Recognize on the DAT and OAT Reading Section

Often times on DAT and OAT reading passages, certain words and phrases will be used to convey the structure of the passage. By understanding what these words signify, you can more easily understand the structure of the reading passage. Here is a list of words you should look out for in these reading passages.

Names

You should always pay attention to names of people, places, and things. It’s likely they’ll be used as keywords in questions.

List Markers

If you see words like “first, second, third”, pay attention as the author is usually providing a lot of examples and reasons for their argument. Don’t get lost in the details in the dense paragraph, imagine that each marker is a bullet point.

Transition Words

This is the cream of the crop of the DAT / OAT reading section. A lot of inference questions are pulled from these sections. Often, a chain of reasoning will continue to be emphasized and supported or change directions. The author will usually reveal a lot about their argument when they start using the following words.

These words signify a change in the author’s argument:

  • yet
    but
    nevertheless
    however
    although
    despite
    in contrast
    nonetheless
    even though

These words signify a continuation of the author’s argument and usually contain supporting examples:

  • also
    additionally
    furthermore
    in addition to
    plus

Conclusions

Normally, you can find the author’s “main idea” and “main point” in the conclusion of an argument. If you see these words, the author is probably writing a conclusion and will reveal their main idea:

  • clearly
    therefore
    thus
    in summary
    in conclusion (this is an easy one to spot)

Attention words

If you see these words, the author is about to reveal something critical. Pay extra attention to these parts of the passage.

  • crucial
    most importantly
    key
    especially
    primarily
    in particular
    strangely
    interestingly
    notably

Ari Rezaei
Ari Rezaei

My name is Ari Rezaei and I'm a dental graduate from Columbia University. My team and I built Bootcamp.com to provide challenging prep material to get you ready to conquer your classes and exams.